DNC Chair: If It Were Up to Me, Independents Wouldn't Be Allowed to Vote in Primaries

DNC Chair: If It Were Up to Me, Independents Wouldn't Be Allowed to Vote in Primaries

Created: 03 May, 2016
Last update: 17 October, 2022

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said that if she made the presidential primary rules, she would do away with open primaries that allow independent voters to participate in taxpayer-funded elections. Speaking on "MSNBC Live" Monday, Wasserman Schultz said she believes that the Democratic nominee should be chosen by Democrats and Democrats only.

"I believe that the party's nominee should be chosen — this is Debbie Wasserman Schultz's opinion — that the party's nominee should be chosen by members of the party," she said, according to The Washington Examiner.

Either through open or semi-closed primaries, several states allow independent voters to participate in these taxpayer-funded elections, giving voters outside the Republican and Democratic parties the option to choose which party ballot they want to vote on.

Bernie Sanders, who is generally perceived as the "outsider" candidate in the Democratic contest against Hillary Clinton, has benefited greatly in states that allow independents and other voters outside the two major parties to participate in the primary election process.

Sanders, who has come out in support of making the primary process more inclusive to voters, told one New York voter a couple of weeks ago:

“Three million voters … lost the right to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary. That’s wrong. You are paying for this election. It’s administered by the state. You have the right to vote.”

Jane Sanders, wife of the Vermont senator, has also spoken publicly of her support for open primary elections and same-day registration. While Bernie would have likely benefited from more of these races, coming out in support of these reforms now wouldn't change anything in the current contest, but it does raise the issue for future elections.

In her interview, Wasserman Schultz added that if she was able to close more contests to registered party members, she would wait until after the current presidential election to implement changes to the structure of the Democratic nomination process.

Photo Source: AP

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About the Author

Shawn M Griffiths

Shawn is the Election Reform Editor for IVN.us. He studied history and philosophy at the University of North Texas, and joined the IVN team in 2012. He has several years of experience covering the broad scope of political and election reform efforts across the country, and has an extensive knowledge of the movement at large. A native Texan, he now lives in San Diego, California.